By Luke Eastwood
This new book is very close to my heart – environmentalism has been a big part of my life since I was around 20. As a teenager there was a lot of talk about future enviromental crises and renewable energy – but nothing really happened, it was ‘business as usual’. By the time I was a student in London I felt the need to get involved in activism – which is why I volunteered for Greenpeace protests and helped with the McLibel campaign.
As time has passed it became clear that it was still ‘business as usual’ and unfortunately, about 30 years after I got involved in supporting Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and other organisations such as Shell To Sea, nothing much has really changed. One could argue that it is far beyond ‘business as usual’ as there are now far more people on this Earth than when I was 20 and many of these people aspire to or live very wasteful consumer lifestyles.
Awareness that there is a big problem has reached a much higher level and the media is screaming doom and gloom at us on a daily basis – but has it changed anything? Perhaps, but not enough, not nearly quickly enough. I believe that there is still a perception among the public that the governments of this world will soon ride in like the ‘knight in shining armour’ and save the day. Unfortunately that does not likely to happen any time soon.
If one were to portray this problem of planetary destruction as a monster, the governments are not going to ride up and slay it, but they will maybe tickle its underbelly and wave an agitated finger at it, while giving it a harsh telling off! The reason for this is simple – corporate lobbying. Virtually every political system around the world is in the hands of corporate lobbyists and as a result governments will do little or nothing to make any substantive changes that might effect ‘growth’.
As individuals we are not constrained by corporate lobbyists or by obligations to ensure continuous economic growth. So, I came to the conclusion that any meaningful change to the system and change to how we treat this planet will not come from governments or corporates but from us – ordinary people. After all, even the most evil corporation is filled with ordinary people who go home and live normal lives that do not involve trashing the planet on behalf of profit. It’s up to us ordinary folk to make things happen – there is no point in waiting for governments to wake up.
The solutions to the crisis on planet Earth are simple – hey a 15 year old girl from Sweden was well able to see that and tell the world to wake up. Unfortunately the rich and powerful don’t really want to listen to her, even if they play along in order to look good. However, they will be forced to listen when huge sections of society stop buying plastic junk, stop eating cows, demand renewable energy etc. If we individuals change our living habits it will force societies to change, if enough of us take part.
We are really in the ‘last chance saloon’ – if we wait another generation it will probably be too late to reverse the damage to the planet for thousands of years. This book in itself won’t save the planet, but the ideas in it can if enough people actually get up off of arse and follow through with implementing them in their lives. None of the steps are difficult – it’s just a matter of the will to do it. None of them are new – we all know what they are from schools, TV, magazines, the internet, but due to the incredible power of marketing and advertising in the media these messages get lost and ignored by the vast majority of people.
I don’t know if this book is going to make a real difference, I sincerely hope so. I don’t care if I make money from this, if people give away their copies or lend them or duplicate the ebook I don’t care. If people talk about the issues and don’t buy it I don’t care, so long as people take on board the messages, then I will be happy. Time is running out, we are all headed for a big cliff at top speed – it really is time to get off the bus, before it’s too late!